Island Air Announces New Directors to Flight Operations and HR

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Island Air announced it has promoted Capt. Steven Longdon to director of flight operations and has appointed Denise Blas-Phillips as director of human resources.

Capt. Steven Longdon. PC: Island Air

Capt. Longdon has 18 years of experience in the aviation industry and joined Island Air in November 2016 as a captain. He was among the airline’s pilots who trained on and operated Island Air’s new fleet of DHC 8 Q400 aircraft.

“Steven has quickly proven that he has the experience and leadership skills to successfully manage our flight operations and help Island Air continue to grow and expand,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “He will play an integral role in the operation of our airline working closely with the pilots and managers to ensure that we maintain the highest level of safety for our customers.”

In his new role, Longdon will oversee the safe and effective execution of flight operations for the airline, including providing strategic and tactical direction for operational leadership, mentoring and training pilots, and reviewing and implementing Standard Operating Procedures.


Prior to joining Island Air last year, he was the lead pilot for Wing Aviation in Houston, TX where he managed fleets traveling to both domestic and international destinations. He also served as aviation safety manager/captain for CareFlite, a medical transport company in Dallas, overseeing its aviation safety programs, standards and operating practices. He was director of operations and chief pilot for MJG JetCorp in Sarasota, FL; training captain for Avantair in Caldwell, NJ; pilot at Mesaba Airlines in Minneapolis, MN; and a flight instructor/check airmen for Volunteer Aviation in Aloca, TN.

Denise Blas-Phillips. PC: Island Air

In her new role, Denise Blas-Phillips will serve as a business partner to senior leadership overseeing the people functions of the company, focusing on workforce culture, recruiting, staffing and personnel development and training, as the company continues to expand its services with its new fleet of DHC 8 Q400 aircraft.

Blas-Phillips brings over 20 years of experience in human resources to Island Air, having held positions in both the public and private sectors throughout the state of Hawai‘i, including the local airline and travel and tourism industries.


“Denise’s passion for helping people excel is evident; she is a proven leader and will be an invaluable asset to our company,” said Uchiyama. “She will be critical in improving the quality of service we deliver to our customers, which starts with recruiting and training exceptional staff and providing the ongoing support they need to achieve their career goals.”

Early in her career, Blas-Phillips served as a human resources assistant at Hawaiian Airlines where she was involved in the recruitment of pilots, flight attendants, customer service and ramp agents, mechanics and engineers.

Most recently she worked as the senior human resources consultant at Kamehameha Schools, where she acted as a mentor and “thought leader” in developing accountable leaders within the organization. She worked for Kamehameha Schools previously as an employee relations administrator and human resources advisor. Blas-Phillips also led the human resources department for the US Department of Defense, where she was responsible for the strategic and operational human resources needs of the command.


Blas-Phillips attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where she earned a Bachelor’s in Speech communication. She then went on to take graduate courses in human resources at Hawai‘i Pacific University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources and a trained mediator with the Mediation Center of the Pacific.

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